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Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney

faithhope

Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney

[Updated from November, 2010.] A trip to the toy store the other day to lurk for miniature garden ideas instigated a trip to the video store to rent the latest fairy movie from Disney, Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It’s all in a day’s work here at America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center.

You bet I watched it  – and no, I don’t have children, nor do I have a child in my life that I could borrow for the excuse to watch it. I just did.

Oh, you’re doing it again, aren’t you? You’re laughing at me!

Now this is the kind of invaluable market research that is part of my job as leader of the hobby, researcher of everything mini garden and owner of the world’s only Miniature Garden Center dedicated to gardening in miniature. It’s this is the level of sacrifice

;o)

Nah, really, I just wanted to see if there were any cute ideas I can share and, never-to-be-disappointed-by-Disney, there were more than a few new ideas that you can put in your bag of tricks the next time the kids or grand kids want to get miniature gardening.

Miniature Fairy Garden

Get the kid’s imaginations working with some hands-on fairy fun and magic in the miniature garden.

Fairy Origins and Lore via Disney

– Each time a baby laughs for the very first time, a fairy is born. This is called their Arrival Day, similar to our Birthdays. Wait. Did I hear a giggle?

Disney latest line of fairy toys can easily be used in the miniature garden.

Disney latest line of fairy toys can easily be used in the miniature garden.

– Fairies are from Pixie Hollow and each fairy has a different purpose. They come to the “mainland” to help with the change of the seasons by coloring the flowers in the spring, they help pollinate and tend to the gardens and crops in the summertime, paint the leaves in the fall and make icicles and snowflakes in the winter. Just place what they do before the word fairy and you can create any character for your own purpose. Examples include, “Wind Fairy, Pumpkin Fairy, Dog Fairy, Spruce Fairy, etc.

– Fairies are about 5” tall and are dressed in anything natural that usually illustrate their purpose. Flower fairies wear petals and leaves, the pumpkin fairies wear the pumpkin and the wind fairies… huh? Wait. Are they naked? Lol!

– The fairies help to put the hibernating animals to sleep in the fall or to wake them up in the spring. I wish they could do that for me when I can’t sleep at night. Oh, and they also take care of wounded animals everywhere.

– They paint the stripes on bumblebees and design the patterns on butterflies. Awesome.

– They use fireflies as flashlights. When you see a firefly, it is really fairy flying around.

– Male fairies are called Sparrowmen. They look like elves with wings and acorn hats. I love that name!

A pretty fairy in the mini garden.

A pretty fairy in the mini garden.

Points of Attraction

– Fairies love shiny objects just like me. Place a small mirror or something shiny in the garden to attract them – or me. Lol!

– They sometime use buttons as stepping-stones to lead the fairies to your fairy house. If you do use buttons, please don’t relay on your fairy to keep them in place. Instead, use our Mini Patio Mix Kit. It’s easy and fun to use.

– Create a wee leaf-plate for the “fairy offering” to help lure them into your garden. Fairies eat fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and bread. Place a wee snack as an offering and see if they take you up on it.

– Fairies smell slightly like cinnamon. If you catch a whiff, there is a fairy nearby but not the fairies are still not edible.

– They use mint leaves as a toothbrush and pine needle combs. They use cotton balls as pillows and leaves as blankets. Fairies prefer the natural house and lean-to’s so they can go inside and see out the windows.

If you are NOT going to see the movie, here’s a synopsis:

The mAd-Fairyovie was very fun in typical Disney fashion. The only characters are the Dad, the daughter and the fairies. The Dad is very pre-occupied with his work collecting, studying and mounting bugs and butterflies, which is completely horrific for a fairy to see! The daughter catches a fairy by accident (Tinkerbell) and they bond. Dad eventually finds out, catches a fairy and rushes to expose his find to the world. Just before it is too late, he is swayed when he sees his daughter flying with the fairies, pleading for the release of her friend. The fairies befriend the Dad and, with a heavy dose of pixie dust, make him fly too. I love the end where the Dad, daughter and all the fairies are all hanging out spending quality time together.

Checkout your local toy store for a number of different fairy figures to use in the miniature garden that are child-safe, washable and durable. Introduce fun and magic to the children while you still can.

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Like this? Please visit the Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center here. We appreciate your support to keep us going and we specialize in superior, personalized customer service!

See more:
Whimsical Fairy Swing DIY
About Miniature Fairy Garden Moss
Declutter Your Fairy Garden 

Checkout Disney’s wonderfully Interactive Pixie Hollow Website here.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

NEW LOW PRICE!! Click the Picture to read the intro! An expert view on fairy gardening and how to make them look authentic in your miniature garden.

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How to Make a Miniature Stonehenge Garden

Miniature Stonehenge Garden

Our Miniature Stonehenge Garden photo has been making the rounds on the Internet and shared by thousands on Facebook and Pinterest. Here’s a little How-to so you can make your own!

How to Make a Miniature Stonehenge Garden for the Solstice

[From December 21, 2012] Dang. It’s the end of the world and I was supposed to take my credit cards on a wild vacation! Well, maybe next time… ;o)

 Miniature Garden Display

The Miniature Garden Display from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, 2007, where the Miniature Stonehenge picture was taken.

Speaking of a wild trip, the little photo (above) has had quite a journey over the past month thanks to our friend Nancy Wisser over at the Clonehenge blog, and to thousands of shares through Facebook and Pinterest. We’ve been swamped with emails asking where to get it and how to do it so we got a how-to together for you here, in honor of the End of Days.

The Miniature Stonehenge Garden was from our display at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2007. The display was called ‘Miniature Gardener Interrupted’ and while it wasn’t our strongest display, it sure was fun to make a mess and leave it there for the entire show. (Yes, the irreverent artist inside me still rises up at times. Such rebelliousness. ;o)

Miniature Garden Ebook

How to Make a Miniature Stonehenge Garden

Hover over the photos for the captions:

We found the miniature Stonehenge Kit at a Barnes and Noble store, call ahead if your going to one of the brick and Janit's Mini Garden Etsy Storemortar stores, they may have them in stock. Otherwise, find the “Stonehenge Kit” in our Amazon affiliate store here.

The little Stonehenge Kit comes with a map to show you where to place the stones – makes it easy-peasy. The stones are made of resin and are easy to drill.  Use florist’s rod or an old metal coat hanger and you’ll need 16 rods.

Decide on your plant material first. We used Irish Moss (Sagina subulata – it’s not really moss per se; it’s a perennial ground cover.) in the above display garden, which is about ½” deep and grown from a 4” pot planted the previous summer. For this how-to, we used 3″ long rods because our native moss is almost 2″ deep before the soil level starts.  The rods should go down into the soil at least 1” to stay firmly in place.

You may not have enough time before the end of the world to order the Stonehenge Kit so I’ve included a close up of the stones towards the end of the slideshow so you can make your own out of Polymer Clay or Fimo.

Happy Solstice!

Join us for your FREE weekly Mini Garden Gazette to have more miniature garden fun here.

[Posted on 19/12/2012] All sales through our online store are GUARANTEED. If the world does end on Friday, we will give you a complete refund!! ;o)

And whatever you do, make it FUN!

 

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Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs

 

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Easy, Quick & Fun: A Miniature Garden Pumpkin House

Halloween Miniature Garden

Once the pumpkin house was carved, it was easy fun setting up this shot in the miniature garden.

Easy, Quick & Fun: A REAL Miniature Garden Pumpkin House PLUS Halloween Tips

After years of creating and growing with this new-again hobby of miniature gardening, it’s a wonder that you can come up with anything new, huh? But, alas, it’s the variables that rope you in and keep the ideas dancing in your head in the wee hours of the morning. So many plants, pots, accessories, sizes, themes and designs to keep you creative! Oh my!

You mean I can plant a garden now? – ‘Tis the season and you can start with Halloween, carry on through Thanksgiving and into the holidays with the same garden – or make a new one each month. Miniature gardening is season-less and can be done anytime, anywhere, so don’t wait for the seasons to have a reason to gardening in miniature!

Make a REAL Miniature Pumpkin House! – Alright, there are now two ways to go about getting a miniature pumpkin house in your miniature garden. This pumpkin-house blog was first published 3 years ago and, since then, a few different kinds of resin pumpkin fairy houses have been made in China and brought back here to attempt to tempt you with… if you can be temped by future landfill. (Sorry, I’m a tree-hugger and very pro-Earth.) BUT you’ll never get the satisfaction out of a resin house that you will from carving your own house design from a real pumpkin. So, release your inner architect, grab a knife and pumpkin and have some fun. I sure your fairies will enjoy a real pumpkin house too!

Halloween Miniature Garden

We tried shooting with some extra light off to the side, but found them a bit distracting from the pumpkin house. We found the light-up ghost for $1.99 at Rite Aid.

Tips for Shooting Photos in the Dark:

  • Set up your shot in the daylight and start shooting when it’s dusk. If it gets too dark, the camera can’t see the plants with the natural light and you can’t see the surroundings. Photoshopping it afterwards doesn’t look natural.
  • Use a tripod or something sturdy to hold the camera in place. The camera’s shutter will need to stay open for a few seconds, by keeping the camera steady, it will stay focused.
  • Try a couple of different settings on your camera. If you have automatic “scene” settings, try the food and/or museum settings first. Turn the flash off if the camera sets it off automatically. If you are tinkering with manual settings, try adjusting the exposure compensation to a brighter setting.

http://www.MiniatureGardenSociety.com

  • Load your photos to your computer from your camera before you take the scene apart. Seeing the images on a bigger screen gives you another perspective and you can see what needs tweaking, fix it and reshoot it right away.
  • Be prepared to work fast, as soon as that sun sets you have a limited amount of time to use that dwindling light. If you can, do it again the following night. If you’re an early bird, try this at dawn but set up the shot the day before when you can see, have the candles ready to light and have a piece of cardboard or plastic to sit, kneel or lay down on.
  • Have something else that lights up in the shot. That little light-up ghost helped to illuminate some more details outside the pumpkin house. If you have string lights, see how they look just laid behind the house, or in front of the house and the edge of the shot.
Halloween Miniature Garden

I cut the squares for windows, then sliced up the cast-off pieces to make the “window panes” and just wedged them in place. The pieces will dry out and shrink so either keep some extra pieces cold and damp to replace the strips when needed. If they dry out too much, get the hot glue gun to tack them in place from the inside. (Assuming the inside flesh of the pumpkin has dried out as well. Remember that it’s only temporary.)

Miniature Garden Clean-Up Tip: For your Halloween set-up, leave the fallen leaves scattered around the miniature garden. It will look more natural. Don’t worry about detailing the garden if your photographing in the dark, the focus will be whatever is lit up. In this example, the eye will go to the pumpkin house first, the ghost second, and then take in the rest of the scene.

Miniature Halloween pumpkin house

The impromptu patio was taken out of a miniature garden and reused here. It’s made from our Mini Patio Mix Kit, a special recipe just for miniature gardens. You can customize to fit any garden and won’t wash away in the rain.

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

In case you missed it:

How to Carve a Miniature Pumpkin

Halloween in the Miniature Garden

Our main website with galleries and FAQs

Our online store, The Miniature Garden Center

Like this? Then you’ll love our FREE Mini Garden Gazette! Join us here.

Miniature Garden Trees

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Round-Up: More About Miniature Garden Plants

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Some of the plants used for our Northwest Flower and Garden Show display were chosen as experiments to see how fast they grow up. The Parahebe, the small plant in front of the big Hinoki tree in the front blue pot, ‘looked’ like a good possibility – until it grew up.

Round-Up: More About Miniature Garden Plants

I STILL do it!

I always fall for the cutest little plants, especially when they are in flower. I buy it, plant it and watch it grow – and grow and grow and grow! So not cool if you are a miniature gardener.

So. Not. Cool. If your the world renown expert on miniature gardening either. Thankfully you have me to make these mistakes for you!

;o)

After all, we ARE looking from them to stay small or grow really slowly.

I’m getting a lot of emails lately asking about what kind of plants to use for miniature gardening – or how to find out what works in your backyard and what doesn’t. So I put this mini-directory together of previous blogs that have touched upon the subject in various ways. If your question isn’t answered here, please do let me know.

How to Find the Plants

This is part four of our beginner series. You’ll find the links to the rest of the series in the post. These are the steps to take for indoor and outdoor plants:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/miniature-gardening-104-how-to-find-the-plants/

Examples of What to Look For

The main points of what to look for with a few examples of plants that we like:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/miniature-garden-plants-examples-of-what-to-look-for/

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Secrets to Success

In this post, I talk about some of the plants that trick us into thinking they would work – until they grow up:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/miniature-garden-plants-secrets-to-success/

About the Plants Behind the Winning Gardens

From our annual Miniature Garden Contest – I break down the plants that each winner used in their miniature gardens:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/an-inside-peak-at-the-miniature-plants-in-the-award-winning-gardens/

The Meaning of “Dwarf” and “Miniature”

Dwarf and miniature are often used in the names of plants to help sell them – which can be misleading. Here are the definitions and what we mean by “dwarf” and “miniature:”

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/miniature-dwarf-plants-the-true-meaning/

Signs of the Plant’s Demise So You Can Prevent It

A discussion on the signals that plants give you when they are not happy. Notice the signs, save the plant.

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/how-plants-die/

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

NWFGS miniature garden container

Four months later: the Parahebe sure has pretty flowers – that have overgrown the scale of the miniature garden! I’ll transfer it to one of my in-ground miniature gardens in the fall.

What Can be Grown in your Area?

The very best way to get to know what plants work in your area is your local garden center or nursery – NOT a big box store. You know, one of those cozy, plant-laden stores where you hear a soothing fountain off in the corner, the air is thick with humidity and you have to duck under trees and walk over the hose to get to the cashier – and this is inside the building – THAT kind garden center.

Take some time and walk around and get a feel for where they have the plants at the nursery.  You should find the right plants in the right place too. Note the zone info and what kind of soil they recommend for the plant (and use NO potting soil with added fertilizers!) Then you can retreat home and look again at the space that you are thinking for your miniature garden if you haven’t decided that yet.

Find the tested, tried and true miniature garden trees, shrubs and plants here, up in our online store. We have the best shipping methods and we ship safely all year long!

Here’s a quick-list of what you are looking for:

  • Miniature or slow-growing dwarf trees or shrubs
  • Groundcovers
  • Rockery Plants
  • Alpine Plants
  • Sedums & Succulents (small leafed, of course)

For a complete discussion of the trees, shrubs and plants for miniature gardening, look forward to the first comprehensive book on miniature gardening from Timber Press:

Gardening in Miniature

Now available for through Amazon.com, or wherever books are sold. To order your signed-by-the-author copy, from our online store, click here

Join us for more fun in the miniature garden and sign up for our FREE weekly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF, The Best of the Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox after you confirm your subscription through your email. Join us here.

 

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Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

For a successful miniature workshop – and with very little effort-  you can take care not to set your students up for failure with plants that work and pots that last.

Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

Spreading the joy of miniature gardening is just as much fun as creating one. With our beloved hobby travelling like wildfire throughout the country, and the world, there are many fellow miniature gardeners who have stepped up to teach it this year. Here are some pointers that we developed after teaching this hobby for the last decade.

Looking for a Miniature Garden class? – If you are looking for a class in your area, the first place to start is your local garden center or nursery. Give them a call, find them on Facebook or, better yet, go and visit them to see what’s going on and say hello.

Miniature Hobby Farm Garden

We punched a bunch of holes in the bottom of this galvanized tub before planting to give the excess water a place to go.

Here is a last-minute checklist for our fellow miniature gardeners who are conducting workshops and classes this spring and summer.

  • Group plants horticulturally to make it easy-peasy for your students to assemble their gardens. Put indoor plants together, outdoor plants together, full sun with full sun, etc. Group plants that like dry soil together – or moist soil together too. If the student doesn’t care about mixing up the plant’s needs in one pot, just make sure they know what they are getting. (A workaround is to keep the moisture-loving plants in the poly-pot and plant the whole thing, pot and all, into the miniature garden. If it’s an aggressive grower, cut out the bottom of the poly-pot before placing it in the miniature garden.)
  • Not all plants will make a great miniature garden. The satisfaction and reward of a miniature garden is to have it grow and weave together over several seasons, if not for years and years. If the student has to repot her “investment” in two months time and buy new plants – they will be disappointed and may not try again. Simply put, plants that stay small and grow slow are the best choices to start with. See what’s in our store for more examples here. Make sure new gardeners have the best leg-up with the right plants so they are satisfied in the long run – and they will come back for more and more fun because the miniature garden is so easy to maintain.

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  • Gather a wide selection of containers if it’s an open class where students choose their own. Some may live in condos and want lightweight containers, while others may have a larger space to work with and want to plant a bigger miniature garden.
  • Choose pots or containers with a drainage hole. Just about any container or teacup can be drilled with the right drill and drill bit. Look for masonry drill bits for most Asian and Chinese pottery, for teacups and porcelain, look for porcelain tile.
    Miniature Garden in a barbecue

    Above photo is from 2013: I chose this “container” because it was new and, being a barbecue, it already had holes for drainage. My plants are true miniatures (Michelle Mugo Pine with Congested Ice Plant) and I know I can keep this together for years before it will need repotting. I shelter it from the hot, summer sun because it is metal. UPDATE – 2016: The Ice plant outgrew the pot last year. The Michelle Mugo Pine is still very happy in this wee bbq planter! 

    Don’t set your students up for failure by telling them that anything can be used for a miniature garden, closed containers simply will not work for everyone. Help your student’s success rate by providing a drilling service, or only recommending containers with drainage holes.

  • Give careful consideration of what you are recommending to plant in. Yes, that old drawer or broken pot may look cute for the first couple of months after the miniature garden is planted but, after a while, your still stuck with an old drawer or broken pot! As the miniature garden keeps growing more magical and fun throughout the seasons, you may regret not investing in a nice container that will last and not fall apart when moved. Note that baskets lined with plastic are temporary containers and will not last. I have found that poking holes in the plastic doesn’t work very well either if you want the garden to last.
  • Always choose organic potting soil for your miniature gardens. Stay away from any soil with extra fertilizer or water-retaining polymers, the plants simply don’t need it, it may burn the roots and nor do you want your miniature plants to grow fast. There is enough nutrients in a good-quality potting soil to last for up to two years.

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

  • Recommend accessories that are weatherproof and/or are staked to hold their place in the soil. It is cute to add wee books, refreshments and tiny details but they will weather quickly and get lost in the garden – which is hard on some people’s budgets and their patience. Spending good money on miniatures that don’t last long is frustrating for the new miniature gardener. Put the focus on what will stand up to the weather for the more satisfaction.
  • Provide some snacks or refreshments during the workshop to keep everyone engaged. Miniature garden workshops can sometimes take up to four hours at times. By providing a little nourishment, you can avoid people having to leave early because they need food. Make sure to mention this in your flyer or ad, to let the people know. Better yet, team up with a local caterer and make it a luncheon-event. The students can eat while you teach, then plant afterwards.

Need to know how to build a miniature garden like a pro? Here is our complete instructions on how to create a miniature garden, it includes some in-ground tips and tricks, scale information and recommended plants to use.

Like this? You’ll like our Mini Garden Gazette – join us here for more fun in the miniature garden. 

Visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center, here: http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Book Cover - Low Res 008

Get an autographed copy from our store or find it on Amazon.com!

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April Fools in the Miniature Fairy Garden

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

Foolin’ around with the fairies for April Fools Day.

April Fools in the Miniature Fairy Garden

Fooling around with the fairies for April Fool’s Day! Click to enlarge the photos.

 

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

What did YOU think that fairies needed that nobody talks about? Leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you!

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

The backdrop was made from a bamboo placemat. We glued stakes on the back to hold it rigid, and to stake it. The trees were painted for more color. That back vase is just that – it’s not planted up – the branches will last for a couple of months before they will need replacing.

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

I found this miniature bathroom set many years ago at a miniature show. It’s discontinued, but it’s the PERFECT fairy bathroom! Lol!

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

Customized fairy figure. It’s a Mary Brown fairy that I glued material onto, painted, painted and painted in layers, and remade into my own lil’ fairy.

Come and play with us – we just have a little fun in the miniature garden! Join our email list here to receive your FREE weekly Mini Garden Gazette, the world’s most popular newsletter about miniature gardening. It’s written by miniature gardeners, for miniature gardeners. Sign up through our main website here.

Want to dig deeper? Join us at the NEW Miniature Garden Society! It’s a members-0nly website that is dedicated to collecting, sharing and studying the art of gardening in miniature. Click in here for more information and what you’ll get by being an exclusive member!

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

http://twogreenthumbs.com/Miniature_Garden_Society.html

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St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

St. Patrick's Day in the Miniature Garden

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden: We’re having fun using the same garden this year for every occasion that we can.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

This year’s mission: to use the same garden for every occasion throughout the year – aaand we missed one already!

Dang.

We tried to rally a Mardi Gras miniature garden at the last minute, but, it takes a while to figure out the accessories if you don’t have them on hand. Although, I could have painted a bench purple and throw some beads around the pot – but I looked – we didn’t even have any beads…

So, let’s do St. Patrick’s Day, it’s my Grandmother’s favorite “holiday.”

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

With the help of some floral picks (the sign and the stars) we made this wee holiday work in the wee garden – only after collecting everything “green” we could find.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

We found that tiny antique garland at our local miniature show. The hat came from an old stash found at a rummage sale. We painted the bench green, it’s made of balsa wood and shouldn’t be left out in the weather because it will fall apart quickly.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

The world’s cutest St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes are by Ruth Stewart from Stewart Dollhouse Creations – link is below. She’s amazing! They make all-occasion treats the doilies too. (Note that these tiny miniatures are not waterproof or weatherproof.)

Fairy Gardening with Two Green Thumbs.com

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Our new, trusty miniature cedar decks can be stained or painted. That’s an upside-down pot that we used for a table. Small hen and chicks are the red-tipped rosettes, the fuzzy, grey-green plant to the left and right of it is Wooly Thyme.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

The grass on the left is Silver Mist Lily Turf, the bushy shrub is Blue Moon Sawara Cypress, the taller column is a Miniature Juniper. This combination is slow-growing, for a full-sun spot, moderate watering, we let the soil dry out to barely damp in between watering sessions to avoid over-watering.

Missed our Valentine Miniature Garden? It’s here.

RESOURCES:

Find the plants here.

Find the miniature garden decks here.

Find Ruth’s cupcakes here.

Our How-To PDF instant download is here.

Join us for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette here.

May the luck of the Irish be with you, always.

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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